Today’s (2021-09-14) WWDC announcements have got me wondering: Are Apple’s devices no longer for me? Every year, Apple unveils an even spiffier, more-powerful version of its flagship phone and every year I find myself cringing a little more as they rattle off a slew of new features and capabilities they want to put in our pockets.
Today however, it became apparent to me why I’ve increasingly cringed each year since the iPhone 7 was released and why it’s time for me to move on: My values when it comes to technology are very different from Apple’s.
I want a phone that does just the essentials, not more.
I want a phone that “just works” when I need it to and otherwise stays the heck out of my way.
I only want devices in my life that help me focus on my life, not draw me away from it with constant notifications or addictive apps.
In short, my goal is to use my phone less and only with purpose.
As a power user, a big part of using my phone less involves knowing what my device is doing. Heck, the iPhone’s camera is becoming so fancy and smart I find myself asking, “Can I really take credit for that picture?” Yeah, the iPhone’s smart camera means fewer bad photos, but won’t it also result in more photos that increasingly look the same? So bright, so perfect, so corrected they all check the box of being Instagram-worthy while at the same time managing to be devoid of any real character or element of personal style.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m stretching things a bit here, but to me it’s just a symptom of the root problem, part of which ties into Apple’s recent CSAM debacle – ownership.
Who does this device belong to, me or Apple?
Who knows best how it should be used and fit it into my life?
Whose best interest is this device watching out for at the end of the day – mine? Or Apple’s?
Increasingly, it feels like the answer to each of the above is “Apple”. I know some would argue that things have always been this way, but it didn’t feel so heavy-handed, so condescending…until now. Heck, is it even possible anymore to buy a non-refurbished device with a 3.5mm headphone jack from Apple’s website?
Much like in an abusive relationship, Apple makes a mistake but then changes course without ever admitting they were wrong. They insisted the butterfly keyboard was the best thing ever…and promptly replaced it with little fanfare a few years later despite users screaming for days about how bad it was.
I’m also tired of the marketing-speak. Apple pats themselves on the back and talks about how much courage they have…for removing a port?!
You know what Apple – courage definitely isn’t making your devices less user friendly or less compatible with my headphones just because you want to make them thinner, something no one probably really cares much about beyond the threshold you crossed circa 2012 anyway.
You know what real courage is Apple? How about standing up to oppression and not needlessly exposing your users to abuse?
Real courage would be standing up to China. 😬
All that to say, I’m probably moving on from Apple. I haven’t bought a new iPhone since 2014, and my next device will need to be something that I can ensure is in line with my values and goals, not Apple’s. It’s been a good ride, but it’s feeling more and more like it’s time to admit that Apple and I are increasingly headed in totally-incompatible directions.
Sorry Apple. It’s not me – it’s you.